World campaign: Josh Littlejohn and Malala Yousafzai
Homeless campaigner Josh Littlejohn has announced that his next project will be an international collaboration that will see 50,000 people sleep out in cities around the world.
He made the announcement as Malala Yousafzai, the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner, enjoyed lunch at one of his Social Bite cafes and later addressed 1,400 guests at a dinner held at the EICC.
Mr Littlejohn, who was behind the CEO Sleepout in Charlotte Square and the two Sleep in the Park events, is partnering with the Malala Fund for the global event this December.
A fundraising target in the millions of pounds will be distributed to a range of homelessness and refugee focused charities throughout the world. As well as partnering with Malala Fund, the project will also work with UNICEF USA and the Institute of Global Homelessness to support thousands of homeless and displaced people with the funds raised.
During Malala’s visit, she took part in a Q&A with BBC Foreign Affairs Correspondent John Simpson, speaking about her experience of being shot in Pakistan and the work of her charity aiming to ensure all girls receive an education.
The event was attended by the individuals who had raised the most money for Social Bite’s 2018 Sleep in the Park event on 8 December which topped £3.6 million.
Funds from Sleep in the Park 2018 have gone towards Social Bite’s innovative Housing First initiative, which aims to get people out of temporary accommodation and into a secure home. Backed by the Scottish Government, the Housing First scheme is expected to take 830 rough sleepers off the streets by April 2021.
Ms Yousafzai said: “Educated girls have the power to transform our world. But without a home or access to education, millions of refugee and displaced girls are unable to fulfil their potential. I am excited to partner with Social Bite and have their support for Malala Fund’s work to get refugee girls get back in school.”
Mr Littlejohn said: “It was such an honour for Social Bite to host Malala’s visit to Scotland. Malala’s fight for girls’ education and the work her foundation does in supporting refugees and creating social justice is an inspiration.
“I’m thrilled that Malala’s visit marks the announcement of our World’s Big Sleepout campaign, to bring our ‘Sleep in the Park’ event concept to an international stage. We have seen the power of the events in Scotland in terms of raising significant funds to make a difference to homeless people and to shine the political spotlight on this issue.
“I am excited to work with our partners – Malala Fund, UNICEF USA and the Institute for Global Homelessness – to bring this campaign to the international stage and I hope we can make a big difference to many people who don’t have a safe place to call home across the world.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who attended the EICC dinner, told guests that she was honoured to be in the company of an inspirational individual.
Caryl M. Stern, president and CEO of UNICEF USA, said: “UNICEF USA is pleased to join The World’s Big Sleep Out this December to raise critical funds and awareness for displacement in all its forms. UNICEF has long focused on the needs of children and families on the move around the world, and with tens of millions of children displaced today, this support will be lifesaving.”
Dame Louise Casey, executive chairman of the Institute of Global Homelessness, said: “The Institute of Global Homelessness is honoured to partner with Social Bite, Malala Fund and UNICEF USA to raise funds and support for people experiencing homelessness around the world.
“We know that homelessness is an urgent deadly issue that affects people in all nations, but it is an issue that can be solved. The World’s Big Sleep Out campaign will be an extraordinary step toward building a world where, within a generation, everyone has a place to call home – a home that offers security, safety, autonomy, and opportunity.”